One of the most common questions we get asked here at Optoma is ‘how do I know which is the best projector for me?’
Buying a projector can be a confusing business with its own world of jargon and acronyms* but the key is to ask yourself the right questions.
How will you use your projector?
Is it mostly for showing presentations and slide shows, watching films or playing games? Would you like to watch 3D?
This will help you to identify what native resolution you require and the ports/connections and accessories you will need.
Native resolution is simply the number of pixels in an image. The higher the number of pixels, the greater the resolution and the better the image quality will be. Projectors have the following native resolutions: SVGA (800 pixels high x 600 pixels wide), XGA (1024x768), WXGA/HD Ready (1280x800), 1080p (1920x1080) and 4K UHD (3480x2160).
So, if you are looking to use the projector to mainly watch DVDs or Blu-Rays® you would probably chose a high resolution 1080p or 4K UHD projector with HDMI input. If you need the projector for business presentations, you might choose a more basic SVGA or XGA projector.
How big is the screen/image that will need to be projected and what is its aspect ratio?
The bigger the screen, the higher the native resolution you will need. Aspect ratio is dimply the ratio of image width to image height. This could be widescreen (aspect ratio either 16:9 or 16:10) or more square, like old-style televisions (aspect ratio 4:3).
• SVGA and XGA projectors have a 4:3 aspect ratio
• 1080p and 4K UHD projectors have a 16:9 aspect ratio
• WXGA projectors have a 16:10 aspect ratio
How far from the screen would you like to install the projector?
If the projector is to be permanently sited you will need to calculate the throw ratio to ensure the projected image fills your screen. A projector's throw ratio is defined as the distance that a projector is placed from the screen divided by the width of the image it will project. If you know the screen size but are unsure how far back to site the projector, you can use the given throw ratio to calculate where the projector needs to be installed.
Optoma’s short throw projectors can be installed very close to the screen. Its mobile, desktop and home entertainment projectors must be sited further back. We have a distance calculator on our website that will help.
How bright is the room where will the projector be used?
Can the lights be turned down/blinds shut? This will determine the ambient light in the room and how bright the projector needs to be. The brighter the room, the brighter the projector will need to be. Brightness is measured in lumens.
And finally, is the projector for home or business?
Home: Consider whether you would like built-in speakers or will you be connecting the projector to external speakers.
For home cinema and gaming you will need a high resolution projector to ensure the contrast and picture quality is crystal clear. So, ideally a 4K UHD or 1080p projector.
For gaming, check the projector’s ‘input lag time’ which is the time it takes for the projector to produce an image. Latency in games can be crucial and a few milliseconds can mean the difference between shooting the enemy and being shot. A lower lag time will improve your gaming experience.
Business: Where will the projector be used? Does it need to be light and portable for off-site meetings or installed in the boardroom?
This will help you to chose between mobile or ultra mobile, desktop or installed projectors.
For basic Powerpoint presentations SVGA and XGA projectors are good all-round cost-effective projectors.
Boardrooms and larger meeting rooms might need a larger screen and a higher resolution projector – so a WXGA projector may be a good option or if you need greater detail a 1080p or 4K UHD projector would be ideal.
For those looking for a projector to install in a much larger space, such as an auditorium or exhibition, a professional AV projector may be what you need, such as Optoma’s ProScene range.
*There is a helpful glossary on our website to help make sense of this world of aspect ratios, lumens and throw ratios.
So, you’re thinking about getting a projector and want to know where the projector needs to be to fill the screen or to get a certain size image. Or you know exactly where you want to install the projector but don’t know how big the image will be at that distance. No problem!
Introducing the Installation Triangle…
If you have any two dimensions on the installation triangle – you can calculate the other one.
So – taking our UHD40 4K projector as an example. This has a throw ratio (TR) of 1.2~1.59:1
If we want a 100cm wide screen – we multiple the screen width by the TR = projection distance of 121cm~159cm
If we know where we want to place the projector (ie 121cm back) and want to calculate how large the image would be – we divide the distance by the TR which gives a screen width of between 76.1~100cm (depending on how much you zoom in the image).
If you don’t know exactly what model you need but know your screen size and where the projector needs to be – you can calculate your TR. This will help you to narrow down which models would fit your room.
But put that calculator away!
Optoma has a brilliant distance calculator on its website that does all the hard work for you! Simply put in one dimension and the calculator will do the rest.
Where you place the projector is an important part of choosing the right projector
Short throw and ultra-short throw projectors can be positioned very close to the wall and still provide a big image on the screen. The benefits here are no shadows and they tend to be brighter by being closer to the screen or wall.
Normal or standard throw projectors sit further back and tend to mounted on the ceiling and above/behind where you would be seated.
If are thinking of placing your projector on a shelf near to the ceiling – don’t. You would need to tilt the projector which would distort the image shape. Install the projector under the shelf rather than above - ideally with a universal mount.
Optoma announced this week the integration of Amazing Colour technology into its latest projectors. The combination of advanced colour technology and multiple settings in all Optoma projectors, from entry level to high resolution, creates precise, true-to-life colours which do not fade.
Outstanding colour precision
Optoma projectors deliver accurate sRGB/ Rec. 709 colours for true-to-life visuals. This provides precise detailed images with more realistic and natural looking colours. Perfect for business presentations, education, films and photography - where detail really matters.
Tailored visual experience
Equipped with multiple display modes, Optoma projectors give users the freedom to choose the best setting for the content. Each mode has been fine-tuned by Optoma’s colour expert team to ensure superior colour performance.
Optoma projectors deliver high ANSI contrast. This means the projector is far superior at differentiating between dark and light content within the same image - providing crisp, intense and saturated colours.
Optoma guarantees colour will never fade on its projectors so users can enjoy consistent colour performance for years to come.
Multi-colour processing technology
DLP® BrilliantColor™ technology raises the bar in colour performance and picture quality. This multi-colour processing technology provides a wider colour gamut, making it possible to produce over one billion colours. It supports the continuous processing of RGB (red, green, blue) colours along with yellow, cyan, and magenta. This gives realistic colour reproduction, particularly evident in skin tones.
Amazing Colour technology offers better colour performance to match any application or environment – whether for business, education or home entertainment. For more information on Optoma Amazing Colour technology, visit: www.optoma.co.uk/Amazing_Colours and watch the Amazing Colours video
Laser-phosphor technology is advancing rapidly. But what is it, what are the advantages of this technology and for what applications is it best suited?
There are many advantages of lamp-less laser-phosphor light source technology. For example:
• There is no lamp and therefore maintenance requirements are minimal
• Brightness is more consistent than lamp-based projectors, which are subject to brightness fluctuations as the lamp is used (brightness decay) and replaced
• It is quieter due to higher efficiency and so less requirement for cooling
• Colour reproduction is brilliant
• Due to the solid state light engine, the projector is able to operate in unusual positions, including portrait and downward projection
As a result of these benefits, laser-phosphor projectors are ideal for venues where ceilings are high and the projector is fairly inaccessible for maintenance, such as university lecture theatres, digital signage applications and museums/professional installations where usage hours tend to be higher and there are accessibility/maintenance restrictions.
It is also ideal for quieter environments such as smaller meeting rooms or those with low ceilings.
With such a wide choice of projectors – lamp-based, LED and laser - it is important to look at the application and venue to ascertain whether a laser-phosphor projector is the best solution.
If the projector is needed for lengthy usage with minimal downtime or the projector would be fairly inaccessible after installation, then this may be the best option.
Also if colour accuracy is important, it may also be the best choice – although the colour performance of lamp-based DLP projectors varies with the type of colour wheel used. Some, like Optoma’s EH7700, provide colour wheels options so the colour performance and brightness can be tailored to the application – so it is important to look at all factors.
Optoma has recently expanded its range of laser-phosphor ProScene projectors with the 6,000-lumen ZU650 and the ultra-wide short throw, ZH300W.
The technical bit
Unlike the laser beams you may have seen in Bond films, no raw laser light is emitted from the lens of the projector. So how does it work and what is the difference between laser and laser-phosphor projectors?
With a pure laser - the red, green and blue light from three laser diode arrays (one each for red, green and blue) is combined then passed through an optical diffuser. It is this diffused light that is used to illuminate the projector’s DLP chip and produce the image.
A laser-phosphor projector is slightly different in that it uses one blue laser. This blue light is diffused and used as the blue light component to illuminate the DLP chip. The blue laser is also used to energise a phosphor wheel that emits yellow light. This is then split into its red and green components and used to illuminate the DLP chip.
We are just back from the Retail Design Expo where we were showing off our projection solutions to retailers from across the UK. With our partners Projection Artworks and Texas Instruments, we wowed visitors with projection mapped displays using Optoma’s LED and laser DLP projectors on sportswear, luxury goods including watches, technology products and FMCG.
Projection mapping allows digital content to be applied on or around physical products or spaces. Research has shown this makes a 41% increase in sales when compared to stores without projection.*
Laser and LED DLP projectors are now a cost effective retail display option. Projections can be daylight visible and maintenance costs for bulbs replacement have been eradicated through LED and laser technology which can provide an astonishing 20,000 hours of impressive, virtually maintenance-free operation.
Optoma's laser and LED projectors
Optoma projectors use DLP technology pioneered by Texas Instruments. This uses millions of mirrors to produce high quality imagery which does not suffer colour degradation over time, as sometimes experienced in other projector technologies.
The event saw UK debut of DisplayMapper that is set to change the face of retail. DisplayMapper is the world’s first cloud-based, projection-mapping, content management and projector control system which has made global, scalable retail projection rollouts possible. Having created retail projection showstoppers like Harrods’ Faberge installation, Projection Artworks developed DisplayMapper for retailers that want to recreate this type of next-generation ‘magic’ on a smaller and more affordable scale.
Retailers also saw a new dynamic solution for stores that can sweep marketing messages and imagery across their shop floor, wall and ceilings. The Mirror Head from the Dynamic Projection Institute comprises a high-tech mirror that is digitally operated and can move either rapidly or slowly to project pictures, videos and text onto any surface.
Tom Burch from Projection Artworks, Justin Halls from Optoma and Rob Hollands from creative agency Anthem hosted a session at the event’s main theatre to challenge ‘flat panel thinking’. They shared how a recent POS retail experience installed in a major supermarket stimulated customer engagement and increased sales.
*Based on Asda/Nestle trial in 10 stores Q4 2015
With the onward advancement of technology and the increase in expectations, a flipchart and pen simply doesn’t cut the mustard for business meetings any longer.
Technology now allows us access files, work collaboratively on screen and stream data wirelessly. Upgrading your meeting room technology can seem like a costly investment but making meetings more effective can have big payoffs in terms of increased productivity and more efficient group collaborations.
Is your business taking advantage of the tools that it could be using that could save you money in the long run?
What is becoming increasingly expected of businesses is for visitors and clients involved in meetings to be able to bring in a device (whether it’s a tablet, laptop or smartphone) and connect seamlessly to your display equipment. It is important that the projector in your boardroom or meeting rooms can accommodate this.
New interactive functionality in projectors allows several people to work simultaneously on the screen without using a pen. It is easy to annotate on the projected image, open Microsoft office files or web browsers and interact with the content without even touching a computer.
This ability to work collaboratively on documents and presentations in meetings is a real asset to companies. The work can be saved to a computer and distributed to participants and non-attendees after the meeting.
Conferencing equipment is essential for companies that regularly meet with people in different geographic locations. Face-to-face meetings remain important but installing conferencing equipment gives you and your clients the possibility to slash travel costs and staff travelling time.
Around 1.8bn hours of Skype video calls are made each year with an increasing number of these coming from business conferences and video meetings. Data conferencing lets you share text, images and data in real time. Videoconferencing uses telephone or data lines to transmit audio and video. A projector allows you to share content in your meeting on a super-size screen. A large flat screen display would cost significantly more than a projector to achieve the same image size.
Using tablets and mobile devices as the interface between the presenter and the on-screen presentation is becoming ever more popular. Whether it’s controlling a slideshow, pulling up and manipulating data or simply used as a script/prompt for reference data, tablets are changing the boardroom and improving the way we conduct meetings.
Most projectors now have wireless functionality to stream data from mobile devices using wireless HDMI devices such as the Optoma WHD200 or Google Chromecast or Optoma’s mini WiFi dongle.
Future proof your investment
It is important to future proof any investment in equipment. Review the inputs and outputs you might need. Look at what sources you are using now but also what you might want to use in the future. Most new computers and laptops have HDMI outputs enabling Full HD 1080p resolution. Multiple HDMI inputs in your projector allow you to switch between sources easily.
There is a growth now in HDbasedT functionality. HDBaseT not only allows data to be sent over a much greater distance than HDMI but can also carry HD video, audio, ethernet, power and control on a single cable. This significantly cuts down the number of cables needed for a typical business installation.
Optoma has a range of business projectors that have wireless, interactive and HDbasedT functionality. Most have internal speakers avoiding the cost of installing external speakers. They also include audio output if an external sound system is required.
Most of these can be controlled remotely with full support is provided for Crestron, Extron, AMX, PJ-Link and Telnet LAN protocols. Once installed, the projector can be monitored and controlled over LAN.
Kitting out your boardroom is not just about impressing customers – it also makes financial sense. It can save time and money by reducing off-site meetings and installing future proofed equipment in your boardrooms gives your team the tools to work more effectively.
Five reasons why you shouldn’t compromise when it comes to the quality of your business presentations.
Keep the attention of your audience
Brighter, clearer and sharper imagery will help you to keep the attention of your audience.*
The right price
Technology has developed so much that your business can have the perfect picture quality at an affordable price.
Low resolution projectors will not be as crisp and clear as high resolution 1080p models. Projecting the highest quality imagery will reflect the quality of your business and your brand values.
The higher the resolution of the projector, the bigger your imagery can be. This means you can have big, bright picture performance with vivid colours in any boardroom, meeting room or office space.
New 1080p business projectors use the latest technology ensuring easy connectivity, the ability to present wirelessly and compatibility with other technologies such as Google Chromecast.
*Optoma is 100% confident on the quality of bright vivid imagery from its 1080p business projectors but cannot guarantee the content of presentations is not dull.